Assembly Standing Orders

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 11:30 am on 9th March 1999.

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Photo of Seamus Close Seamus Close Alliance 11:30 am, 9th March 1999

I know when I’m bate — to use a well-known Ulster expression. I do not propose to take on an eminent QC.

I share the view that the utmost scrutiny should be applied to those who will be at the centre, and they should not run away from that fact. If amendment No 59 enables that to happen, I shall be content to go along with it. If it is ultra vires, I will have difficulty with it.

I understand that on the completion of our discussions on the report it will be subject to full legal scrutiny. In that context, I am prepared to go along with it because I feel strongly that there must be power to scrutinise the centre. Neither I nor any member of my party believes in dictatorship, be it benign or otherwise. The more power that is sucked into the centre, the more difficult it will be to hold people to account without proper Statutory Committees.

On the clear understanding that the report will be subject to legal scrutiny and advice, my party can go along with the amendment.